A crazed former champion of the TV game show Countdown, where contestants perform mental gymnastics with words and numbers, drove 500 miles across the country in order to smash a bottle of wine over the head of a young woman who had dared to give his new book a bad review online.
Richard Brittain traced his victim to an Asda store in Glenrothes, Scotland. He travelled from London to hunt down teenager, Paige Rolland, 19, who was employed by the store and was stacking shelves at the time of the assault and did not see a bottle of red wine as it came smashing down onto her head. She is lucky to have survived with her life but now suffers long term trauma from the assault. The former Countdown champion and author, pleaded guilty in court and spared his victim the indignity of a lengthy trial.
The Daily Record reports:
Yesterday, Brittain admitted the assault, which happened in October last year in Asda in Glenrothes.
Sentence was deferred at Glasgow Sheriff Court pending reports and he was remanded in custody.
After his court appearance, Paige, now a student midwife, spoke of the horror of the attack, which came without warning and left her with a gaping head wound.
The teenager said: “Had he hit me any harder, I could have died.
“My first thought when I realised I had been assaulted was for my mum and how awful it would be for her to get a phone call saying I had died.”
Brittain, from Bedford, tracked Paige down using her Facebook page after she left an unfavourable review of his self-published book, The World Rose, on review website Goodreads.
Keen reader Paige said she bought the book after seeing Brittain, who won Countdown in 2006, leave several arrogant messages on the website describing it as “wonderful”.
She said: “I thought it must be amazing as he was very arrogant and telling famous published authors their opinions were meaningless.
“So I bought it and didn’t like it. I think I only managed a few chapters before I had to put it down.
“It was pretentious and not very good and I said so on Goodreads.
“I did receive some anonymous messages harassing me and telling me I was terrible and I wasn’t going to get anywhere.
“I did think it was him and the moderators of the websites helped me sort it out. I thought that was the last of it until the morning of the attack.”
Paige was stacking shelves in the Asda cereal aisle and bent down to get something on the bottom shelf.
Without warning or saying anything, Brittain then approached her from behind and smashed a wine bottle into her head.
Speaking of the moment she was attacked, Paige said: “When I stood up I thought something hit me on the head.
“At first, I thought that maybe I’d hit my head off the shelf and, as everything started to spin and go black, I wondered how I could be so stupid as to hit my head so hard.
“My vision was black and my hearing was muffled.
“I did not pass out and turned and put my hands out to lower myself to the floor gently, which is something my mother has always taught me to do should I think I’m going to pass out.
“I heard the tinkle of a bottle on the floor and I thought that something had fallen on me. Blood was covering my hands and dripping down my arms.
“Without the pressure on my head, the blood spread down my hair and the back of my neck.
“Before I went into shock for the first time, a colleague pressed towels to my head and someone covered me with a heavy jacket to try and stop it from happening.